University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Enhanced Charge Transport Through Nanoconfinement
A team of accomplished researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a novel pathway for enhancing anhydrous proton transport in polymeric materials. This pathway entails generating supramolecular nanoscale confinement in polymers containing anhydrous proton transport functionalities. By carefully designing the polymer structures, the proton transport moieties of the polymers can be confined and organized within the nanoscale domains of the polymers via self-assembly, resulting in enhanced proton transport capabilities. This enhancement improves the conductivity of the polymers by 2-3 orders of magnitude. The high conductivities observed for the polymers with nanoconfinements are correlated with their ability to form locally high concentrations of proton transport moieties. These polymers allow high conductivities at high temperatures, which can increase fuel cell efficiency, lower cost, simplify heat management, and provide better tolerance of the fuel cell catalysts against poisoning.
Published: 11/19/2014   |   Inventor(s): Ryan Hayward, Sankaran Thayumanavan, Mark Thomas Tuominen
Category(s): Material science, Nanotechnology, Physical Science, Devices, Clean Energy
Geobacter Sulfurreducens Conductive Pili as Biological Nanowires and Uses Thereof

The present invention reports the conductive properties of Geobacter sulfurreducens pili (geopili) and their use in nanotechnology applications. More specifically the present invention provides methods for culturing cells of G. sulfurreducens to produce conductive pili, as well as methods for their isolation and for their modification in order to produce biological nanowires or biological/inorganic hybrid devices with different functionalities.  The invention provides applications for cells expressing native or modified pili as well as for the isolated native or modified pili.

Published: 11/18/2014   |   Inventor(s): Derek Lovley, Gemma Reguera, Kevin McCarthy, Mark Thomas Tuominen
Category(s): Life Sciences, Environmental, Nanotechnology, Biotechnology